Sending hospital patients home earlier ‘could save NHS millions’

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Millions of pounds could be saved and NHS patients given greater comfort if a pioneering scheme to discharge people from hospital more quickly is extended to the whole health service.

Health bosses said a “common sense” pilot scheme has seen patients avoid thousands of days in hospital beds and saved around £2m.

The report has revealed figures on the number of repeat A&E visits.

The report has revealed figures on the number of repeat A&E visits.

Patients are discharged up to 10 days earlier as part of the Homefirst programme in Somerset, which was launched in September 2017.

Medics provide daily home visits to patients until they have regained their independence or have a long-term care plan in place.

The project is jointly funded by Somerset County Council and the NHS at Musgrove Hospital, Yeovil District Hospital and Somerset Partnership Trust.

NHS bosses said personalised care in people’s homes helped avoid 7,500 nights in hospital and saved money that was invested in other services.

Similar projects have since been launched in Cornwall, Staffordshire, Plymouth and Epsom in Surrey.

Dr Karen Kirkham, NHS England’s National Clinical Adviser for Primary Care, said such schemes would be part of implementing the Government’s long-term plan for the health service, which was published on January 8.

Dr Kirkham said: “As we deliver on the long-term plan for the NHS, it is common sense schemes like this which are being rolled out across the country to get the best care for patients and make the best use of every penny.

“By finding out more about a patient’s circumstances at home we can tailor the care they get.”

The long-term plan set out how the NHS will invest an extra £20.5bn a year by 2023-24 promised by Prime Minister Theresa May.

NHS, local authority and social care organisations will work more closely to provide faster access to patient care as part of the plan.